District 4 Senator
Hello everyone, the legislative session is over, as we adjourned Sine Die at 10:04 PM Friday night the 26th. My plan is to write a summary report of the session next week. After adjournment, those previously elected to Legislative Management (8 Senators and 9 Representatives) met and elected Chet Pollert, House Majority Leader, as the Chair of Legislative Management for the ‘19-’20 Interim.
Two issues important to District 4 were decided on the final day of the session. The trespassing/posting bill failed in the House by 4 votes after it had passed the Senate. SB 2315, in its final version with Conference Committee compromise amendments, sought to close private land (except with permission) for all activities except hunting in order to protect private property rights and yet not effect hunting. Even this still failed to pass the House, much to my disappointment. I admit to being surprised at the attitude of some people who think they should have unfettered access to the private property of others because they’re “not hurting anything”. In spite of the bill’s defeat, much progress was made in bringing different groups together and more work will be done in the interim on this issue.
Another hot-button issue for the ag industry was the fallout that occurred due to a high-profile grain buyer insolvency case. Hunter Hanson, who has been arrested on felony theft charges, has more than 50 claims pending against his business totaling $7.3 million. Some of those affected are within District 4. For the past three legislative sessions the Public Service Commission has requested additional protections for both producers and grain sellers under their licensing program, but in each case these bills were defeated by the House. Now, because someone “had to pay” (to quote the House Ag Committee chair), the push was to remove all authority over grain, grain buyers, warehousing, deposits and warehousemen from the PSC and place it with the Ag Commissioner. It can be argued that the PSC wasn’t the problem – it was their lack of tools, but now they are being thrown under the bus by being blamed for not stopping these insolvencies from happening when they perhaps could’ve done so if they would have had the fixes they’d requested the three previous sessions. I voted against the move twice, but it eventually passed after being attached to the Ag Commissioner’s budget (it initially failed in a stand-alone bill). Maybe the Ag Commissioner’s department is the right place for the program, but I’m disappointed with the way everything went down.
It’s an honor to serve you, and I thank all who have contacted me throughout the session. If in the midst of all the emails, calls and texts I failed to respond to you I apologize. I do my best. Please be in touch throughout the interim as issues, questions, or concerns arise. Thank you!
Jordan Kannianen, District 4 Senator